what hospitality looks like

cookbookI love to cook and eat, and laugh around the table with a bunch of people. I have this thing for hospitality.

I have a bookshelf filled with cookbooks. I have a kitchen equipped with cast iron cookware and good knives, baking tins and serving platters. My pantry is always stocked.

It’s in my DNA, my mother loves to cook and entertain, as did my grandmother before her.

So this season that I’m in right now with little ones at home, is so very challenging.


Because it is not a season of dinner parties with champagne to start and chocolate souffle for dessert. It is not a season of Indian banquets, or chilli mussels.

And I am finding that I am restless, I am itching to entertain. So when I read a blogpost called “the empty table and some thoughts on filling it” by one of my favourite authors Keri Wyatt Kent, I felt a resounding “me too”. To the point where I added my own comment.

Keri graciously replied to my comment and what she said has challenged the way I view hospitality in my home:

Gathering that three and five year old around a table is just as much hospitality as throwing a dinner party. In your season of life, those are the people you gather around a table most often, and that really matters.

After reading those words I started to remember all the different ways that we have had hospitality in our home.

Just yesterday we had two girls join us for the afternoon, so their parents could have some much-needed alone time and I made apple pikelets with cinnamon sugar.

And this morning my three-year old invited her cousin to come and join us for morning tea, with my mother. Three generations, eating coconut orange cake and chatting.


My perception was that I am not using my gifts, but that’s not actually my reality.

I thought hospitality was about tablecloths and fine china, but actually it’s about place mats and plastic cups.

I thought hospitality was about souffles and Indian food, but actually it’s about thrown together pasta meals that feed my two (and the extras).

I thought hospitality was about late nights, candles and cool music, but actually it’s about bouncing on the trampoline and creating fairies out of paper, glitter and crayons.

I thought hospitality was lost to me in this season but actually it’s only just beginning.

Granted, I am not making souffles at the moment and yes the spicy delights of an Indian feast will have to wait for a little while longer. But I am entertaining and I am sharing my gifts, and all I needed was a thoughtfully placed reply to open my eyes to my actual reality.

And for that I am extremely grateful (thank you Keri),


4 thoughts on “what hospitality looks like

  1. Oh Jodie, this is so lovely. Yes. Hospitality is (sometimes) about placemats and plastic cups, as much as it the fine china. My now 20 year old daughter says she appreciates many things about growing up in our home, including that “hospitality” was a part of our family’s identity. I know your littles will someday say the same thing, because you are showing hospitality to them and to their friends.

  2. Jodie, you’ve found a way to make your home hospitable for those who enter, and that’s the definition of hospitality in my book. One of our favorite ways to show hospitality has been to have families with young kids over, splashing around in the pool out back and playing with cars and dolls and puzzles inside, until eventually everyone realizes it’s dinner time and for those who don’t want to go home we just tell them to stay and we’ll order pizza. It’s a fun time for all.

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